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Hair & Stress

October 9, 2008

Major life stresses can really make your hair fall out.


Losing your head over hair…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Today’s WHY IS IT question comes from listener Brian Dunagan of Menlo Park, California. He wants to know if stress can really make your hair fall out.
We asked Paradi Mirmirani, a dermatologist at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in Vallejo, California. She says everyday stresses like being late for work or having a lot to do probably won’t cause you to lose your tresses. But big life events are a different story.

PARADI MIRMIRANI (Kaiser Permanente):
Death of a loved one, major surgery…real, physical stress to your body or mental stress that causes you not to sleep, not to eat – that counts.

She says those stresses can lead to changes in hormones levels or nutritional intake that may disrupt the normal rhythm of hair growth and cause some hair loss a few months later. If you’ve got a science question, call us at 1-800-WHY-IS-IT. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.